Can anyone join the Union? Do I need a degree?


Any visual or applied artist working in Scotland who meets at least two of our membership criteria can join. These are not difficult for most professionals. Holding a degree is one of the listed criteria, but it carries no more weight than any other; non-graduates are very welcome! Check out our criteria.

We offer membership at two levels so that less established artists and arts administrators can also join. Both Associate (meets any two criteria) and Full Members (any four) can access all benefits including insurance, but voting rights and some posts within the Executive Committee are restricted to Full Members. Established criteria are necessary to give the Union professional status and thereby credibility when we speak on artists' behalf.

Art Forms

What art forms are covered by the Scottish Artists Union?


In general the Scottish Artists Union uses the terms 'visual artist' and 'applied artist' to indicate: painters, sculptors, multi media artists, new media artists, printers, lens based artists, photographers, audio artists, performance artists, ceramicists, jewellers, weavers, textile artists, creative metal workers, glass artists, furniture designers, wood carvers & turners, illustrators, cartoonists, graphic artists and multi media designers. Also artists working in public space and educational and social arenas.

We do not represent technicians, theatrical performers (other than 'performance' artists), writers or musicians. All of these groups are supported by other unions.

If your practice falls outside these descriptions then please contact [email protected] to discuss whether or not we will be able to offer support in your particular working environment.


How much does membership cost?



Scottish Artists Union membership costs £72 per annum. Payable by Direct Debit or Cheque (which incurs a £1.50 cheque admin fee). You can also opt to pay monthly by direct debit is a £6 per month.


How long will it take to process my membership application?


By applying online and paying by Direct Debit, we aim to complete your application in 7 days. If you are paying your fees by cheque, we will need to wait until your payment clears our account before confirming your membership.

When paying by cheque an admin fee of £1.50 also applies.

Your membership pack will only arrive after your payment has been processed. This is important, as it is only then that you become a member and coverage can begin under our free Public Liability and Professional Indemnity Insurance benefit.

How do I join?

How do I join the Scottish Artists Union?


Go to our Join page and complete the application form. We'll review your information and let you know how to arrange payment of your membership fees.

After Join Page

I've completed the 'Join' page, what happens next?


You can now relax and let us do some work on your behalf. Firstly, we'll review your application and check your level of eligibility; if you have missed out anything or we're not sure of the details you've provided we'll be in touch. When we're happy with the information you have provided, we'll set up your membership record and organise your fee payment schedule (Monthly or Annually).

DD Set up

How do I set up the Direct Debit for my membership fees?


Once we have checked your application and set up your membership, you will receive an invitation to enter your Direct Debit details from GoCardless, the platform we use for processing your payments. Enter your bank sort code & account number, and confirm your name and address are correct. Your 'Company Name' is your membership number, which we will assign to you.

You have now set up your payments (covered by the Direct Debit Guarantee Scheme). The Scottish Artists Union is almost wholly funded by our members, so your membership fees allow for all the work we do to happen. Thank you!

Completing the Process

How do I complete the joining process?


Once we have checked the payment info is set up correctly, we will confirm your membership and give you access to the Members' Area. This means you can download your insurance documents, as well as accessing free workshops and resources exclusive to members of the Scottish Artists Union. We will also send out your Welcome Pack, which includes your Membership Badge and Card. The time this all takes, really depends on how quickly you set up your payment details.

We aim to complete your application in 7 days. If you are paying your fees by cheque, we will need to wait until your payment clears our account before confirming your membership.

Proof of Payment

Can I get a receipt to prove my membership?


Yes. A statement confirming your fees payment can be sent to you by post or email upon request. You will also receive an email confirming your membership has been completed and gain access to the members area of our website.

Proof of Membership

How can I prove membership & insurance cover to a gallery/employer?


If you have a valid Scottish Artists Union membership card with your own personal membership number this will verify your membership. Any invoice or email sent to you will also include your membership number.

You can download a copy of the insurance policy & supporting documents from our web-site.  If further proof of membership is requested from gallery/commissioner/employer then email [email protected] and request a covering letter.  Our staff are always happy to help!

Change of details

My details have changed, what do I do?


Exisiting members can update their details on the following page of the website - sign in and go to You can update your contact information, payment method and data protection preferences, your membership criteria and indicate how you would like to get more involved with your union.

Our Membership Team will review the info and action any changes made within 5 working days, we may contact you for clarification of any info provided or request further details.

Graduate Rate

What is the Graduate rate of membership?


The Scottish Artists Union has now launched a Graduate membership rate of £3.00 per month. Final year students, recent graduates and postgraduate students can pay this reduced rate for the first 12 months of their union membership. For further info and the full criteria of membership click here.

Art Workers

If it's an Artists Union why are arts workers allowed to join?


We are often asked this question and there are several reasons. Firstly, it is often hard to differentiate the two as many artists take part time work within organisations as administrators, but continue with their practice as artists. Secondly, many arts workers want to support the artists they work with and have the best interests of artists at heart, this is often part of why they work in the sector.

Any arts worker who cannot fulfill the full criteria as an artist is only able to become an Associate member. In order to protect the Union's status as a representative body for artists, our Constitution does not allow associate members voting rights, limits the number of associate members on the executive committee and restricts the posts of President and Vice President to Full artist members.

To date, the Union's work has been strengthened by the support of arts worker members, particularly from administrators working for the committee who are knowledgeable about the arts infrastructure, up-to-date on new policies affecting artists and the workings of the 'system'. We feel artists should benefit from as much support from within the wider sector as possible.


Who can serve on the Executive committee?


The Executive Committee is voluntary and members can be nominated (or self nominate) to join.

Members are welcome to come to a committee meeting as an Observer in the first instance before a decision is made. They then send a short statement about themselves and the committee then can appoint them as co-opted committee members. They stand for full election at the next AGM.

Central Belt

I live outside the central belt. Can I still be on the Executive?


Yes, as the Union and its Executive exist to represent artists throughout Scotland.

We are committed to widening the geographical representation on the Executive and finding committee members from outside of the central belt. Currently, the greatest concentration of artists and our current membership (and therefore committee) are situated in the central belt, but we want that to change and are very keen to hear from any artists elsewhere in Scotland who would like to represent their area.

Monthly meetings are held online and we have an additional quarterly organisational meeting that is set up for in person and online attendance.  The Scottish Artists Union covers travel expenses for members to attend the Executive Committee meetings. 

We are open to discuss ways in which it can be possible to be part of the Executive.


Does the Scottish Artists Union represent members only?


Due to limits on our staff resources and voluntary executive time, in most situations we can only assist union members. However, on some occasions specific issues may lead us to research or develop work that has been influenced through information received by non-members.


If I have a dispute with my employer/gallery, can you help me?


Yes, we review each enquiry as we receive them and assess the best way to progress.  We aim to support and advise you and agree on a plan of action in moving forward to find a solution to your dispute. This may include writing to the person/organisation on your behalf and/or sourcing you the relevant legal support and/or advice.

Many issues brought to us by members have been related to contracts - or more specifically the ABSENCE of contracts. Without a written agreement it is very difficult to find solutions - which is why we are actively campaigning for the use of contracts to become normal practice.

Email [email protected], please note all enquiries will be dealt with in strictest confidence.


If I no longer wish to be a member, can I get a refund?

Members should note that membership to the Scottish Artists Union is taken on an annual basis; therefore you should continue your membership for a minimum of 12 months.  Members can cancel at point of renewal in April.
Should circumstances necessitate cancellation before this point, the minimum period of membership is 6 months.
Cancellation policy for existing members:
SAU require a minimum of two week's notice if a member wishes to cancel their membership. 
Cancelling a new membership:
If a member wishes to cancel their membership application after the first direct debit fee has already been scheduled for payment, this fee cannot be refunded.

Membership is cancelled from the date of notification or at the end of the current month's payment. All benefits end immediately upon cancellation.

Please let us know if you wish to cancel your membership by emailing: [email protected]


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